Bread brings together the four elements of nature…
The Earth where our wheat grows and our salt nurtures, the Water who hydrates every dough and every plants; the Air where our natural yeast evolves, lifting our loaves; and the Fire from the sun who ripens our cultures and provides heat to our earth ovens. Baking layered dough is taking these elements into a very particular, edible and ephemeral art where precision and discipline are of rigor, only to transform into the most delicate and flaky baked goods you’ll ever come across, disappearing within minutes as you place them on the table…
Laminated dough is fascinating. Producing the perfect layered dough requires precision, discipline and rigor; yet, gestures need to be gentle and measured. The flaky and buttery pastries are nothing less than a complicated mathematical equation taken into a baking art form, which will ultimately end up as a scrumptiously delicious result! Understanding the close relation the different elements of the dough have to form the puffed flaky pastry is the essence of perfectly formed layers.
Layered pastries are famous around the world. Almost every other country has a layered dough specialty, let there be croissants in France, ensaïmadas in Spain or sfogliatelle in Italy. Countless specialties that were created ages ago, but lived trough history, maybe with a few more layers, but not a wrinkle.
Like with any popular recipe, people have created, tweaked and adapted the traditional recipes into their own personal favorites; and the same goes for me. Once I could master the dough, the proofing and the baking to produce perfect basics such as simple viennoiserie and pithivier, I couldn’t hold myself back and stepped out of my comfort zone to envision a somewhat different approach of layered dough. Faithful to my style; food had to make sense, but it needed to be rather different. With a few innovative techniques and ingredients such as artisan flavored butter in croissant that brings a fresh and clean look to viennoiserie, croissant and puff pastry.
Layers has a technical part where everything you need to know about layered dough is explained; and of course a myriad of recipes to use them in creative ways. Making layered dough at home is a sort of challenge, especially in our part of the world where temperature relentlessly softens butter away, unless you happen to have a place with a strong enough air conditioning, but it’s just like baking good bread – practice makes perfect. Machines help us to make layers of dough and butter very consistent. At home, your hands and eyes are your precision tools, and your stomach will be the ultimate judge of your achievement of the viennoiseries, desserts and savory dishes featured in Layers!
One tend to be very excited about frantically knead bread dough, finding whatever therapeutic soothing out of it, slapping the dough left and right… But for layered dough, there is no such thing; it’s only by remaining calm and focused that your pastries will reach perfection!
The book was released today in different stores and will be available soon on this blog and on amazon.com!